NY Jets fans rejoiced when their team managed to snag former Baylor star Denzel Mims near the end of the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Mims had been seen as a fringe first-round prospect, and many believed the Jets had landed a steal in Joe Douglas' first draft class.
A little over three years later, Mims has played his final game with the team that drafted him. Brian Costello of the New York Post reported on Wednesday that the Jets plan to waive Mims unless a team steps up with a trade offer.
Mims has been excused from training camp and will be gone from the team before long. Thus ends a rollercoaster of a three years for Mims with the Jets.
But what happened? How did we get here? Where did it all go wrong? What happened to the once-promising career of Denzel Mims?
Denzel Mims was never the same after his rookie season with the NY Jets
Mims' NFL career got off to a rocky start as the Texas native missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury and was placed on the injured reserve to start the season. He wouldn't make his NFL debut until Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills.
That Week 7 game proved to be one of the most productive of Mims' career, as he finished with four catches for 42 yards in an 18-loss to Buffalo. Mims continued to show promise as a featured part of a sluggish Jets' offense over the remainder of the season.
The Baylor product finished his rookie year with 23 catches for 357 yards in just nine games — not bad considering the quarterback play and offensive supporting cast he was dealing with.
Hopes were high for Mims entering his second season in the NFL, and the prevailing thought was that he would serve as the team's WR2 alongside Corey Davis. It quickly became apparent that wouldn't be the case, however.
Here is where everything started to go wrong. Mims fell out of favor with the Jets' new coaching staff, working behind veteran Keelan Cole during OTAs. He then missed a chunk of the summer after coming down with a bad case of food poisoning.
Mims later told reporters that he lost over 20 pounds as a result of the illness — something that certainly couldn't have helped what was already a difficult offseason for him.
The combination of missed time and his poor standing with the coaching staff saw him plummet down the depth chart. Mims was active for Week 1, but he was used sparingly. The following week, Mims was rendered a healthy scratch.
Since that summer, Mims has found himself active on game days almost entirely due to injuries to other wide receivers. Mims has caught just 19 passes for 319 yards over the last two seasons combined.
His frustrations boiled over into the summer last year when Mims officially requested a trade from the Jets. Despite receiving offers, the Jets declined to fulfill Mims' request after teams reportedly didn't meet their asking price of a fourth-round pick.
It's safe to say they probably wish they accepted one of those offers now. Mims was again a non-factor in 2022, only seeing playing time later in the year following a string of injuries and a temporary Elijah Moore benching.
Mims' natural talent and gifts have never been in question. At his best, he's a physical jump-ball receiver with 4.38 speed who has all the talent in the world. Unfortunately, the Jets rarely saw that side of Mims.
Instead, they saw the Mims who struggled mightily with concentration drops. They saw the Mims who reportedly had issues picking up the offensive playbook and whose effort was called into question on a number of occasions.
Mims desperately needed a change of scenery. He needs a fresh start with a coaching staff that believes in his talent and is willing to work with him.
A mid-July split is a best-case scenario for Mims. It allows him the opportunity to find a new home and compete for a roster spot as opposed to going through the motions with the Jets.
Denzel Mims once looked like a potential building block of the future for the Jets. Instead, he joins the likes of Stephen Hill, Devin Smith, and Elijah Moore as recent second-round wide receiver busts.